How To Be Victorious in One Postive Step

Mountain_ManPLATO


Some of the toughest battles we fight are with ourselves.

Whether it’s having that second piece of pie or getting the last word in a disagreement, we often act impulsively instead of deliberately with careful thought.

Everyday life is filled with external stress that comes from our relationships, jobs and a multitude of other places. While it’s impossible to control these outside circumstances, we do have the power to control our attitudes about them.

I’ve written before about the need for self-reflection when it comes to building a better life and relationships. Understanding ourselves fully will explain why we react to certain people and situations in the ways that we do.

In turn, this understanding teaches us to harness automatic emotions and use careful thought and reasoning when making decisions. Foresight makes hindsight unnecessary.

But, where do these automatic emotions come from?

If a given experience or person causes us to have a negative reaction then we’ll associate the next similar experience with suspicion and distrust. Sometimes simply thinking about the person/experience is enough to trigger bad feelings. This is called generalization of learning and can reinforce the self-defeating behaviors that often result.  

However, we must consciously want to develop this skill and that requires changing how we think.

None of us is 100% right all the time. Our different worldviews and histories shape our opinions and beliefs. We certainly have our unique perceptions of things, but that doesn’t mean the other person is wrong.

It simply means that your experience and his/hers are different, as well as the impressions that go along with those experiences.


When we think of being victorious it’s usually in the context of winning a competition with someone else.

But, many hard-fought victories involve ourselves. Understanding our habit of viewing other people and ideas in a certain way will help us identify the areas we need to work on. 

If we remain rigid in our opinions and unwilling to listen to another’s POV, then we’re destined to remain stuck. No personal growth is possible.

But, why do people choose ignorance over enlightenment? I believe it’s due to familiarity and fear. We’re more comfortable with things that are familiar and we’re fearful of looking incompetent.

Stepping outside our comfort zone and being vulnerable requires a lot of courage. We want to feel safe and that’s more easily achieved in a familiar environment. Being vulnerable means admitting we’re “less than perfect.” 

Research professor Brene Brown warns that perfectionism shouldn’t be confused with self-improvement. In this interview with Forbes magazine she comments that healthy striving is self-focused: how can I improve. Perfectionism is other-focused: what will they think?

To be conquered by our own negativity and narrow-mindedness is truly a shame. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Conquering those demons requires honesty about our fears and failings, which is never easy. We must acknowledge our weaknesses and work to overcome them. Realizing that other people struggle with their own doubts and limitations can help us change our perspective. Once we’re able to see through a more neutral lens our feelings and attitudes will change for the better!


 

 

 

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What Happens When You’ve Lost That Writing Feeling?


That “writing feeling” didn’t disappear overnight.

I’ve always felt it and began this blog in 2015. Up until a few months ago, I’ve written pretty regularly. Then, there came moments of “I’ve got nothing today.” Those moments grew into hours, then days, then weeks. Not only didn’t I write anything, but I stopped reading the people I follow.

Instead of knuckling down and stringing actual words together, I’d opt for a Quote of the Day or an entry in one of the photo challenges. My initial goal wasn’t to write a blog post every single day, so these fillers (as I call them) are a way to share other things I enjoy and stay in regular touch with my readers. But, instead of filling in between posts they became the main content.

It’s not really writer’s block, which is the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Good Lord, anyone who reads the daily news, interacts on social media, or wakes up in the morning has a plethora of subjects to write about. Between our own personal lives and those of the rest of humanity, there’s a never-ending supply of writing prompts. All you need is an opinion.

How to proceed with writing is simple: pick a topic and start typing. Sure, it takes work to get your ideas down in a clear, cohesive fashion, but there’s no mystery about the process.


Indifference ElementREV

So, if not writer’s block, then what?

It feels more like writer’s apathy; an indifference to the writing process itself. And yes, this is a thing. When I Googled it several links came up. This one from Ginny Carter at BookBaby Blog offers 7 Remedies For Writer’s Apathy. 

It’s very similar to exercise and diet apathy, which I’m currently suffering from as well. The less you do it, the less you want to do it. 

Therefore, the resolution is to just do it. (Thanks, Nike and speaking of resolutions, the New Year is just around the corner.)

Accomplishing a goal is always easier said than done; however, it doesn’t answer the question as to why it happened in the first place. So, I did some reflection regarding these past few months and noted the following changes:

  • I started a new job
  • My mom went into a nursing home
  • I’ve become disillusioned with politics 
  • I’ve become disillusioned with people 

Looking at this list helps me understand why I feel so paralyzed in my indifference. I feel less hopeful about life in general. And when we lose hope, we lose our passion and energy. 


I decided to break it down into pros, cons & what, if anything, I can do about it. This is what I came up with:

PRO:  A new job brings time constraints, but offers opportunities for fresh writing ideas. Working with youth gives me a different perspective on life and I’m enjoying the change. It’s also offered better wages and a more positive work environment than what I did in the past and that’s a welcome improvement!

CON & RESOLUTION:  I’ve been through the nursing home experience with my Dad and it’s no fun, but I have insights that I didn’t before. I’ll be a better advocate for my mom. Fortunately, her situation is different and she feels more secure in her new living arrangements.

CON & RESOLUTION: While I don’t approve of the current administration, I can control how much of their messages I hear. Therefore, I’ve decided to limit my exposure to social media and disreputable news sites. I believe there’s a happy medium to staying informed without being sucked into the vitriol that thrives on those platforms. I can do things to advance my own ideas of fair government without giving in to cynicism and overdosing on hate and negativity.

Meme: I'm not an astronomer, but I'm sure the earth revolves around the sun and not you.

CON & RESOLUTION:  And people never fail to disappoint (not that I’m perfect.) However, I’ve always made an effort to understand the other guy’s POV. But, the total lack of respect and empathy that I see on display is mind-boggling. There are individuals who can’t step outside their own heads. Their mantra seems to be: “It’s my way or the highway.”

They honestly believe that their perceptions are everyone else’s reality.

There’s no self-reflection or accountability because most of these folks think they’re pretty darn perfect! No regard for the fact that there’s another side to every equation; that someone else may experience things differently. 

And this very thinking causes most of their misery and that of others.

Again, the best way to limit the ill effects of these individuals is to stay away from them. Whether they’re family members or online trolls, it’s best to keep a safe distance. 


I'm not afraid of storms for I'm learning to sail my ship with photo of dingy cresting a wave.So, I guess the answer is to always maintain a healthy balance when it comes to needs and expectations.

Recognizing negativity will prevent us from becoming invested in the wrong things. Instead, we can focus on the people and things that bring joy to our lives.

Just like a pilot or sailor adjusts their navigation in response to the wind and sea we must make adjustments for the changes that occur in life.

 And this should happen before the paralyzing apathy takes over.


Well, it appears that I’ve answered my question, started a New Year’s resolutions list, and written a blog post…talk about making up for lost time! 

I’m not the first person to experience a loss of artistic passion. If you have any helpful tips to prevent or resolve creative apathy please share in the comments.

Now that I’ve rediscovered the writing feeling, I better tackle that diet/exercise apathy next! 😉